This whole Coatings fiasco has already turned into a massive fireball of bad vibes among an almost unilateral force of established franchise fans. Here's a bit of a visualization as to why. Below I've outlined the possible color combinations available to all
players in every
Halo game to date (Using MCC for the pre-H5 games). I've left visor colors out of the equation because, unlike regular pallete choices, there's never been a precedent for them to be available to all players from the get-go.
CMA Disclaimer: I'm not a statistician or mathematician, and have relied on an online combinations calculator to do the work of determining the above for me. There may be an error in my method for plugging in the numbers, but these all seem accurate to me. Please do correct me if you notice any errors and I'll happily notify, and then correct them in a marked edit.
- CE - 18 Primary-Only color choices, available to all players from the start. Total possible unique configurations? 18.
- Halo 2 - 18 Primary and Secondary Color choices, available to all players from the start in any combination. Total possible unique configurations? 324.
- Halo 3 - 30 Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary color choices, available to all players from the start in any combination. Total possible unique configurations? 27,000. ALSO, Light colors are a heavily rumored addition for H3 in the future based on the Halo Online option- may or may not happen, but would bump this number up another whole order of magnitude.
- H3: ODST, Reach, and H4 - 30 Primary and Secondary color choices, available to all players from the start in any combination. Total possible unique configurations? 900.
- H5: Guardians - 60 Primary and Secondary color choices, available to all players from the start in any combination (miraculously, in hindsight). Total possible unique configurations? 3,600.
Anyways, does anybody want to speculate the odds that 343i programs over 27,000 unique Coatings into Infinite, even over a ten year window of continual expansion and support? That's the number to beat if they want to claim this new system offers more unique ways for a player to express themselves than any Halo game before it (textures, visor colors, etc. all excepted). But, that's not really even the point.
All of the color options detailed above have always
been truly universally available means for each and every individual player to select, from minute one
playing the game. Even if there's a Coating that does, truly and deeply reflect your personality and tastes down to the finest detail (alternative textures add a layer beyond color into this consideration- I can easily imagine a scenario wherein I find a color combo I can really dig married to a texture that I find a total dealbreaker), there's no knowing precisely what lengths you'll have to go to in order to unlock that shader. If it works like Destiny, you may spend months drowning in practically every
shader but the one you've been aiming for. If it works like most F2P games, you may miss a timed exclusivity window or limited promotional event that forever locks you away from your desired Coating. It's not a friendlier system for player expression than the established status-quo for Halo, at all.
If you have a compelling argument to the contrary,
present it to me. I genuinely want to be missing the point entirely on this and would love to be proven wrong and shut-up. I want Infinite to succeed and be the objectively best Halo game ever made in every aspect (want
it to be, never have expected
it to be). I just can't for the life of me figure out a way this is a net improvement over the old system.
343i is selling old-guard fans down the river on this one in favor of a new crowd that won't know or care about what they're missing with a freeform color select system. They're expecting us to basically "get over it," which, while many of us honestly might in time (I'm in no way saying that there won't be things to like or even love about the new system, just that it's a step down in raw numbers of possible unique expressions and freedom), is just not cool.